Sabah dead: Lebanese actress and singer, known as the 'Diva of Arab Music' dies, aged 87

The entertainer recorded 3,000 songs and appeared in more than 90 films

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The Independent Online

Sabah, one of the Arab world’s most high-profile entertainers, has died, aged 87.

The Lebanese actress and singer passed away in her Beirut home of an unspecified illness.

Born to a Christian family in Lebanon as Jeanette Feghali, she recorded an estimated 3,000 songs and appeared in more than 90 films.

She released her first song in 1940, aged 13. The singer was promptly signed by Egyptian film producer Asia Dagher, who enlisted her for three films – including El-Qalb Louh Wahid (The Heart Has Its Reasons) and she later became known by her character's name – Sabah.

Her other nicknames included 'Shahroura', Arabic for 'singing bird', and 'Sabbouha', a diminutive of Sabah. She was also known as the 'Diva of Arab Music' in the Arab world.

"Lebanon and the Arab world lost a valuable artist with the demise of the great diva Sabah, whose departure from this world turned a page on our bright cultural heritage," Prime Minister Tammam Salam said in a statement, according to the Daily Star.

Her career took her around the world and she was the first Arab singer to perform at Olympia in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, Piccadilly Theatre in London and the Sydney Opera House.

She was married nine times, the longest of which was to artist Fadi Lebnan and lasted 17 years. She has two children, Dr Sabah Shammas and actress Howayda Mansy.

Her funeral is expected to be held in Beirut on Sunday, before she is buried in her native village Bdadun.

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